Valorization of coffee waste for battery materials “Waste to Watt?” – step 1

Graphite and hard carbon demand for use in batteries is expected to increase dramatically to about 4.5 million tons by 2050, from today’s 907 thousand tons. The Green Deal is looking to make the EU’s batteries more sustainable and circular, in addition to increasing resilience in battery production. On the other hand, spent coffee grounds are being produced in large volumes worldwide and are a potentially untapped source of biomass for battery production. With Selecta as coordinator, this project hypothesizes that spent coffee grounds can be used as a biobased feedstock to produce anodes in Lithium ion and Sodium ion batteries (LiBs and SiBs).  

To test this hypothesis, the project needs to characterize coffee grounds of different types, assess ease of processing during carbonization steps, prepare anodes and assemble coin cell batteries to characterize and benchmark their performance. Granode Materials, a commercial anode manufacturer for LiB batteries, will assist in testing the new feedstock in the next generation batteries and RISE will provide expertise and specialized labs for carbonization, slurry formulations, and SiB cell assembly and testing.  

This project tackles Sustainable Development Goals of affordable, reliable and sustainable energy by contributing to increasing the share of renewable energy (target 7.2, long-term target 7a). Scientific research is the basis for this innovation aimed at making the battery industry more sustainable and resource-use efficient (target 9.4). This project also contributes to environmentally sound management of waste (target 12.4).  

Why is the project important? 

The EU just passed a new law on more sustainable and circular batteries to support the EU’s energy transition. It is vital that biobased feedstocks be identified and tested for their potential to contribute to battery materials, and that optimization be done so as not to compromise performance when industry moves from fossil-based to biobased materials. Volumes needed are substantial, 4,5 million tons by 2050. Spent coffee grounds are an abundant (over 18 million tons per year) source of carbon-containing waste materials needing valorization. 

Participants

Selecta AB, Granode Materials AB and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB.

Budget & time plan

The project’s total budget is 900 KSEK and the project runs for 6 months – between April and November 2024.